The letter released today was sent to the Western Energy Alliance, the Consumer Energy Alliance, the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, the New Mexico Oil & Gas Association, the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry, the Colorado Petroleum Council, and the La Plata Energy Council. We are releasing the letter on the heels of a NASA report on methane pollution and the Western Energy Alliance conference, for which we prayed.
We have a moral responsibility to cut methane emissions and reduce natural gas waste from oil and gas operations on our public lands. Methane is the primary component of natural gas. We believe all energy sources to be gifts from God, and it is up to us to steward them wisely: As the old adage goes: waste not, want not. When natural gas is wasted, it means lost revenues that could go to the common good – to our schools and communities. Also, that lost energy that could be heating homes for low-income families.
Along with methane, oil and gas operations emit toxics such as benzene, which threaten the health of people living closest to the drilling operations. These drilling sites also emit ozone-forming pollutants that can trigger asthma attacks and worsen emphysema. Communities most at-risk for the effects of ozone pollution are the most vulnerable: children, older adults, impoverished communities, and communities of color.
It is our moral responsibility and duty to cultivate and conserve the gifts of God's creation in a sustainable way - including natural gas. We must ensure future generations can continue to benefit from God's abundant gifts. Many faith teachings, including Pope Francis's recent encyclical Laudato Si', highlight our shared moral responsibility to prevent harm to communities by re-evaluating and changing unsustainable practices.
The good news is that this is a problem we can solve. Our nation has the technologies and the know-how to cut methane waste and pollution. Now is the time for oil and gas lobby groups to join us in supporting the BLM natural gas waste rule.